Hansen makes 12 changes for Rome clash

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 06:42

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has made 12 changes to his starting team that lost to Ireland last week for their clash against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

New All Blacks Liam Coltman and Rieko Ioane has been named in a matchday 23 for the first time, and Sam Cane will captain the All Blacks for the second time.

Coltman has been named at replacement hooker, with Codie Taylor picked to start in the No.2 jersey, alongside experienced props Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina. 

The replacement props for this Test match are Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Joe Moody. In the second row, Scott Barrett, who made his Test debut last weekend against Ireland, will start alongside Patrick Tuipulotu, with fellow lock Brodie Retallick returning to the All Blacks via the replacements bench.

In the loose forwards, captain Cane is at openside flank and will be alongside Elliot Dixon, who will play his third Test of the year and Steven Luatua, who returns to the All Blacks in the No.8 jersey.

In the backs, Tawera Kerr-Barlow will make his second start for the All Blacks, with Aaron Cruden at flyhalf in his 45th Test. Scrumhalf Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga will provide cover from the replacements bench.

In the midfield, Anton Lienert-Brown is at inside centre in his seventh Test of the year, with Malakai Fekitoa outside hime. Waisake Naholo gets his second consecutive Test start, moving to the left wing, with Israel Dagg named on the right wing and Damian McKenzie is at fullback in his first Test start after coming off the bench in his Test debut against Argentina last month. Rieko Ioane will cover the outside backs from the bench.

"On behalf of the entire All Blacks squad, we want to congratulate Liam and Rieko on their elevation to the matchday 23 for the first time. They have both worked incredibly hard and deserve their opportunity," said Hansen.

"Whilst we have made a number of changes, as we indicated, we will be looking for a massive improvement in our performance from last weekend.

"Italy will bring their own unique flavour to the game. They have a big, strong forward pack and some really exciting backs. They will look to drive their maul and be as disruptive as possible. Therefore, we will have to be clinical and effective in all aspects of our game, starting with our set piece. We are also expecting to see an improvement in our kicking game."

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.      
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Brodie Retallick, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rieko Ioane. 

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT; 03.00 NZDT Sunday, November 13)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Alex Ruiz (France), Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)